Understanding Tragedy by Aristotle

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Notes on Poetics by Aristotle

Part VI-Defining tragedy, it’s elements and Imitation

Defines tragedy as an imitation that is serious, complete and with a certain magnitude. The success or failure of the tragedy aspect is dependent on action, and action consists of distinctive qualities through character and thought. Character is the association of virtues we give to the agent. Thought is fund everywhere, for everything must be justified. Therefore it is relevant for any statement or truth that is proved/evoked.

To be classified as tragedy it must have six crucial elements; Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle and Song. Diction and Thought being the medium of imitation. Spectacle is the manner of imitation. Plot, Character and Thought are the three objects of imitation. These are the elements employed by the poets to man in tragedy. Objects of interest in imitation: Plot is first being the soul to tragedy, second is character and third is thought. Use of diction and the precise portrayal of the scenes is the plot. Thought is the faculty of saying what is possible and applicable in the given situation. Character is the revealing of the virtues and moral purposes, showing man’s limitations and strengths. The medium of imitation: Diction is the expression of the meaning or thought by communicating in words, it’s essence is equal in either verse or prose. Song is the expression used for all embellishments and enhancement of the meaning or message. Manner of imitation: Spectacle, which is the least connected to but holds a strong emotional attraction of it’s own. The task of constructing and moulding a spectacle and the production effects demands art not so much the poet.

Life consists of a series of actions, tragedy reflects this as the imitation of tragedy is a series of actions in life. For it is by there actions that; characters are valued, thought is provoked and plot is structured. The most powerful elements in tragedy are the Peripeteia (which...
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